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Clifton’s First Lifts Sabres Past Blue Jackets 2-1



Buffalo Sabres Columbus Blue Jackets game recap

Connor Clifton notched his first goal as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, which proved enough for the win in Columbus over the Blue Jackets. It was an odd and sloppy game, including seven penalties in the first two periods. The quality chances generated by the Sabres were turned away, but a couple of bounces ended up in Columbus’ net to decide the game.

The Blue Jackets started the scoring, with Dmitri Voronkov tapping home a beautiful passing play by countrymen Ivan Provorov and Kirill Marchenko on the powerplay. Before the end of the first period, Zemgus Girgensons threw the puck toward the net and off a Columbus defender into the net to tie the game for the Sabres.

The second period went scoreless before Clifton’s point shot bounced off Blue Jackets netminder Daniil Tarasov’s shoulder and volleyed over the goal line. It’s one Tarasov would probably want back. The Sabres were able to successfully shut things down from there, killing off the remaining 16:55 without a blemish.

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Impact Players

The recent trends were status quo for the Sabres, with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen very solid again in goal. Likewise, the Peyton Krebs line was great again at even strength, with Zach Benson and JJ Peterka.

In fact, every Sabres player was above a 50% shot share when on the ice aside from Dylan Cozens. According to Evolving-Hockey, Cozens, Alex Tuch, Jordan Greenway, and Tage Thompson were the only Sabres under 50% in expected goal share at even strength. To add context, those four forwards were heavily leaned on in key defensive situations.

The Difference

The Sabres continued to pour on the shots, and the final result reflected that. The high-quality chances at even strength at both ends were all stopped, and it was a couple of fluky bounces that awarded Buffalo the win. Perhaps it’s the luck from the fathers’ trip, as the bounces haven’t been going the Sabres’ way recently.

Luukkonen only let up one goal again in this one. He is giving the Sabres a chance to win essentially every night he’s in the net. Buffalo still needs to find him some more goal support going forward, as they’re leaving the Finnish netminder little room for error.

Enough with the Jacob DeGrom treatment.

What’s Next

A Sunday evening game at home is next in the cards for the Sabres. The [storm] surging Carolina Hurricanes are coming to town, on the second night of a back-to-back. The Hurricanes have won eight of their last 10, including four straight.